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Best Basketball Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Performance

last updated Feb 01, 2019

Basketball shoes are a desirable style of athletic footwear that reflect the principles of team spirit, hard work, and technological advancement. One of the originals, the iconic Chuck Taylor created by Marquis Converse paved the way for designs which both players and fans coveted, wanting a sneaker that allowed for their skills to shine through. Soon, competitor companies entered this industry with their own versions of performance-oriented footwear, and today you will find that most major sports brands have their own line of basketball designs.

In this list, we take a look at the top ten best basketball products available for purchase, and evaluate the important aspects and values of each of these models in order to help you choose the pair that will serve you the best – whether you want to rock them on the court, or display them as part of your b-ball collection.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 6 hrs of research

icon
Nike LeBron XV
95/100 our score
Outsole
80
Comfort
100
Fit
95
Flexibility
100
Support
100
Nike LeBron XV
Why is it better?

BattleKnit Upper

Max Air and Air Zoom

Sock-Like Fit

Locked-In Feel

Solid Ankle Support

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Nike LeBron XV
Test Winner: Nike LeBron XV
Researched Sources
6
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1221
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
6
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Mackenzie Jervis:

In order to keep up with the ever changing trends in basketball shoes, this article has been updated with the newest models that are currently on the market. The criteria section has also been re-looked at and worked on, giving you more in depth detailing and selection factors.

Sorting Options
Outsole Comfort Fit Flexibility Support By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Outsole
80%
Comfort
100%
Fit
95%
Flexibility
100%
Support
100%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.02.19)
$185.00
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Outsole
80%
Comfort
95%
Fit
100%
Flexibility
95%
Support
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.02.19)
$129.95
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Outsole
65%
Comfort
95%
Fit
95%
Flexibility
95%
Support
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.02.19)
$95.35
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Outsole
95%
Comfort
85%
Fit
95%
Flexibility
80%
Support
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.02.19)
$101.35
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Outsole
80%
Comfort
85%
Fit
80%
Flexibility
80%
Support
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.02.19)
$97.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Outsole
65%
Comfort
85%
Fit
80%
Flexibility
85%
Support
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.02.19)
$114.95
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78
Outsole
100%
Comfort
80%
Fit
80%
Flexibility
60%
Support
70%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.02.19)
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
72
Outsole
90%
Comfort
65%
Fit
65%
Flexibility
70%
Support
70%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.02.19)
$105.02
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
70
Outsole
80%
Comfort
70%
Fit
70%
Flexibility
65%
Support
65%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.02.19)
$60.00
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
68
Outsole
70%
Comfort
65%
Fit
65%
Flexibility
75%
Support
65%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.02.19)
$240.00
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Nike LeBron XV
  • Nike Zoom KDX
  • Adidas Crazy Explosive 2017
  • Nike Kyrie 4
  • Adidas Crazylight Boost
  • Adidas Dame 4
  • Reebok Shaq Attaq
  • Adidas Harden Vol. 2
  • Adidas Cloudfoam Ilation Mid
  • Air Jordan 32
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Our Favorites

1. Nike LeBron XV

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Nike LeBron XV
Outsole
80
Comfort
100
Fit
95
Flexibility
100
Support
100
best offer for today
$185.00
Pros:

BattleKnit Upper

Max Air and Air Zoom

Sock-Like Fit

Locked-In Feel

Solid Ankle Support

Cons:

Not for Wide Feet

Designed ‘for the unbreakable’, the Nike LeBron XV is a sneaker that raises the bar sky high. It features a material specifically designed for LeBron, a flexible, sock-like fit and a staggering combination of both Nike Zoom Air and Max Air. There is very little that this option can’t do, and it is meant only for the most explosive of players.

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The upper of the LeBron XV is made from BattleKnit, a version of Flyknit that is specifically manufactured for LeBron. It enables elastic support, ultra-lightweight stretchiness, and yet manages to deliver a feeling of security at the same time. You will feel firmly locked-in in this sneaker, despite the flexibility of the upper. The high-stretch collar allows you to easily slip in and out of it, while providing ample ankle support at the same time.

The LeBron XV is the first ever b-ball design that features both Nike Air Zoom and Max Air technologies at the same time. This combo softens hard landings and allows powerful players to move in whatever way they desire.

We have to admit that we are a little bit in awe with this design. It is powerful, it is sleek, and it is ready for the big game. If you are someone who gives it their all on the court, then definitely go for this outstanding design.

2. Nike Zoom KDX

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Nike Zoom KDX
Outsole
80
Comfort
95
Fit
100
Flexibility
95
Support
90
best offer for today
$129.95
Pros:

Air Zoom Cushioning

Tongue & Heel Pull Tabs

Thick Heel & Thin Forefoot Sole

Multi-Tractioned Rubber Outsole

Zoned Flyknit Upper

Cons:

Too Heavy

Questionable Support

When a professional basketball player and a reputable sports equipment brand come together, great things can happen. One of these examples is the Kevin Durant series, and the freshly released tenth edition beats all of its predecessors. The KDX is exactly what you would expect from your dream sneaker; the right features to perform at your best, and a design that is impossible not to stare at.

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The KDX features some of the most responsive cushioning found in this type of footwear, with the incorporation of the Nike Air Zoom technology. The soles are made with an ultra-flexible material that allows your foot to move naturally. A thick heel area cushions with each hard landing, while the thinner forefoot gives you more control over your game.

The upper of these sneakers is made to give you the best possible combination of comfort and support; it is highly adaptable and will hug your feet to provide a superior fit. With plenty of breathability and a sock-like feel, these sneakers will feel good even for prolonged periods of time. The thick oversized laces give lateral support seeing that they cover even the sides of your foot.

Most users who opt for the Kevin Durant X fall instantly in love with it. This is mostly due to the way in which the Air Zoom cushioning provides a good balance between shock absorption and control, while the whole wearing experience is made better by a good upper construction and the ease with which these can be put on and off.

3. Adidas Crazy Explosive 2017

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Adidas Crazy Explosive 2017
Outsole
65
Comfort
95
Fit
95
Flexibility
95
Support
95
best offer for today
$95.35
Pros:

Seamless FUSEDMESH Upper

BOOST Soles

Unique Anatomical Lacing System

Sock-Like Bootee Construction

Rubber Wraps the Midsole

Cons:

Lacks Traction Outdoors

Low Profile Toe Box

The combination of Adidas’ intuitive technologies and a very attractive design give birth to the Crazy Explosive 2017. It only takes a few minutes on the court in these sneakers to realize you’ve been picking basketball footwear wrong your whole life. These are so light you may even forget you have them on; at the same time, they are so comfortable that you won’t be able to ignore the difference.

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Laces that tighten your upper foot are a thing of the past; Adidas’ lacing system is carefully designed to resemble the anatomical shape of the foot. Because of this, the pressure from the laces is distributed evenly throughout the entire frame. This brings the materials closer together to provide you with exactly the amount of support you’re looking for. Double loops assure a durable lifetime.

These sneakers feature one of Adidas’ most lauded technologies - the BOOST. Originally made for running designs in order to provide ample energy return, BOOST has been incorporated in basketball footwear as well, enabling you to get explosive results with a little help from a styrofoam-like midsole that is three times as cushioning and durable as traditional EVA foam.

The Adidas Crazy Explosive 2017 is a high-quality performance design. You’ll find that it is a great investment if you want a sneaker with a breathable upper, a superior lacing system, and if you are a fan of Adidas’ BOOST.

4. Nike Kyrie 4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Nike Kyrie 4
Outsole
95
Comfort
85
Fit
95
Flexibility
80
Support
80
best offer for today
$101.35
Pros:

Zigzag Cutout On Outsole

Premium Suede

Mesh Upper

Nike Zoom Air Cushioning

Ample Ankle Support

Cons:

Size Runs Small

Needs Breaking In

Designed for the type of play that makes Kyrie Irving stand out, the latest product in the Nike Kyrie line is a flexible yet supportive option made for quick cuts and smooth gameplay. Featuring an innovative outsole and a breathable mesh upper, this is a pair of sneakers that’s comfortable to wear, offering great features to keep you going strong even during the toughest parts of the game.

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What makes this outsole different from any other on the market is the zigzag cutout that was incorporated to allow for maximum flexibility that does not sacrifice traction or support. Curved outsole edges allow for smoother transitions without losing your grip on the court.

These sneakers feature a Nike Zoom Air cushion in the heel that provides forefoot control, and helps minimize fatigue by absorbing shock . The upper is constructed from suede and soft mesh to give you both something stable and supportive, keeping your ankles in check during critical gametime maneuvers.

The Kyrie 4 is a flexible yet durable choice, and definitely the best in the Kyrie line. It is a great investment for those players who are quick on their feet and see plenty of sudden changes in direction when playing.

5. Adidas Crazylight Boost

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Adidas Crazylight Boost
Outsole
80
Comfort
85
Fit
80
Flexibility
80
Support
85
best offer for today
$97.99
Pros:

Adidas BOOST Technology

Continental Rubber Outsole

TPU Wrapped Mesh Upper

Ventilated Tongue

For Wet & Dry Conditions

Cons:

Bulky

Narrow Fit

A beautiful low top sneaker, the Adidas Crazy Boost does not slack when it comes to performance and comfort despite going against its high top competitors. Made for indoor hardwood, these are stacked with advanced features - the light agileness, molded heel, Jacquard synthetic and Continental rubber all work together to make this sneaker a nice fit for anyone wanting to impress on the court.

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The Crazylight Boost has BOOST energy-returning properties, just like any other Adidas flagship basketball design. Not only does it return energy, but ultimately it prolongs court performance. A Continental rubber outsole provides excellent floor grip, both in wet and dry conditions.

Despite being a low top design, the Crazylight Boost still provides excellent lateral stability thanks to the carefully constructed upper. Made out of breathable mesh that’s both lightweight and flexible, these sneakers have TPU overlays which work to hug the foot, providing it with lateral stability that helps prevent sprains and rolled ankles.

The Adidas Crazylight Boost is a great choice for players who want to focus on speed and mobility, seeing that it’s a low top with plenty of energy return provided by the BOOST cushioning. Ranking below average on this list when it comes to price, it is also a good choice for the more dedicated enthusiasts who are looking for a high-quality option.

6. Adidas Dame 4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Adidas Dame 4
Outsole
65
Comfort
85
Fit
80
Flexibility
85
Support
85
best offer for today
$114.95
Pros:

Neoprene & Mesh Upper

Perforations for Breathability

BOUNCE Technology

Neoprene Minimalist Collar

Inspired by Dame’s Roots

Cons:

Difficult to Clean

Size Runs Large

The fourth collaborated release between Adidas and Damien Lillard is just as successful as all the previous ones. Underestimating Portland Trailblazer Damian Lillard is just as big of a mistake as is underestimating the footwear designed after his skills. Always staying true to his style and his goals, Dame sought to create a pair of performance sneakers that reflect dedication and passion for basketball.

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As much as players would like, an upper made entirely of mesh isn’t supportive enough. The Dame series gave birth to the combination of neoprene and mesh upper build, which delivers the breathability of mesh with the chemicals qualities of the highly resistant and supportive neoprene. This marriage of compounds will mold around your feet creating the right fit for each user individually, allowing your feet to expand the upper to a completely natural position.

The BOUNCE midsole cushioning technology is just as effective at absorbing as it is at releasing. This cushioning system resembles Adidas’ signature BOOST technology, except it counts with a basketball-specific twist to achieve the most power on the hardwood court. The more effort you put into your performance, the more power you’ll get out of this midsole.

The Dame 4 is a great option for those who are on a budget or are still trying to figure out what it is exactly that they want out of their footwear. With a great upper, excellent cushioning and solid traction, it’s quite likely this sneaker will check all the boxes.

7. Reebok Shaq Attaq

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78
Reebok Shaq Attaq
Outsole
100
Comfort
80
Fit
80
Flexibility
60
Support
70
best offer for today
Pros:

Smooth Traction & Solid Grip

Intuitive Weight-Optimized Technologies

Breathable Upper

Lateral & Pivot Support

Double Leather Construction

Cons:

Not for Wide Feet

Leather Creases at Toe Area

Reebok is one of the lead manufacturers when it comes to basketball performance sneakers. Their collaborated release with Shaquille O'Neal is a reflection of the retired professional’s skills and abilities on the court. The fifth-highest scoring player in NBA history is also a professional game analyst after retirement, sharing with Reebok the key points of footwear that gave his career the impressiveness he demonstrated.

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Leather or mesh alone is not enough to provide the adequate amount of support and breathability, which is why the Shaq Attaq utilizes both at the same time. The genuine leather makes the upper durable, stable, supportive and highly stress-resistant. At the same time, the integrated breathable mesh prevents the leather from isolating your feet in an overheating performance. To top it off, both compounds are superbly comfortable.

Go lighter and faster than ever while remaining comfortable and protected thanks to the injected EVA midsole. Topped with an abrasion-resistant, intuitively patterned rubber outsole, these sneakers distribute pressure throughout the entire design, resulting in a speed-traction pattern on the heel and forefoot areas, analogized by easy-grip dots on the sides and tip of the outsole for smooth pivoting and lateral movement.

These sneakers are a good choice if you’re looking for an alternative to the numerous styles by Nike and Adidas. A definite top contender when it comes to quality and performance, the Shaq Attaq is a great investment, plus, it will look great on the court and streets thanks to its fun retro design.

8. Adidas Harden Vol. 2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
72
Adidas Harden Vol. 2
Outsole
90
Comfort
65
Fit
65
Flexibility
70
Support
70
best offer for today
$105.02
Pros:

Forgefiber Upper

Unique Evolved Traction Pattern

BOOST Cushioning

Custom Lacing System

Easy On & Off

Cons:

Lacks Flexibility for Some

Only For Clean Courts

The second edition of the Harden series by Adidas is a pair of sneakers perfect for both bigger players who need cushioning and don’t mind a little bit of extra weight, and for guards who need a responsive design that gives them good grip and traction. The Harden Vol.2 is a supportive and stylish option that will look just as good on the court as it will paired with jeans for casual wear.

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The outsole of the Harden Vol. 2 is made for quick stops and starts and provides you with excellent traction due to an evolved traction pattern developed for this type of play. Made out of responsive rubber, it will also prove its worth during dynamic lateral movement.

Using TPU-covered textile fibers and heat pressing them allows for this sneaker to have an upper that is both flexible and supportive. It’s lightweight and breathable, while the custom lacing system allows you to find the best fit for your foot shape and size.

Even though the Harden Vol.2 is the most expensive pair of sneakers on our list, you will definitely want to get your hands on it if you are a fan of unique looking kicks that come in several fashionable colorways. The high performance and comfort are expected and guaranteed and you won’t regret picking out this versatile option.

9. Adidas Cloudfoam Ilation Mid

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
70
Adidas Cloudfoam Ilation Mid
Outsole
80
Comfort
70
Fit
70
Flexibility
65
Support
65
best offer for today
$60.00
Pros:

Full Grain Leather Upper

Side Perforations

Cloudfoam Liner & Midsole

Lightweight Cushioning

Affordable

Cons:

Not the Best Traction

Can Be Squeaky

Coming out with a bit of a different feel is the Adidas Cloudfoam Ilation Mid. Though it is the cheapest on our list, the Cloudfoam is an awesome sneaker that is effective and comfy. It comes in leather and is implemented with a grippy rubber sole, lowering your chances of injury due to slipping. Though the color scale may not be as vast as with the other items on the list, the Adidas Cloudfoam comes in plain solid colors such as grey, white, blue and black, all featuring the trademark three stripe pin symbol along the sides.

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The Cloudfoam Ilation Mid sports a Cloudfoam sockliner and midsole. This makes an already lightweight design more awesome than it already was, by giving it the added cushioning and bounce it needs to perform well. Perforations are added along on the sides, making it easier for the foot to breathe and further lengthening play time, keeping your feet protected from sweating.

One of the best things about the Ilation Mid is the fact that it comes in various widths, which makes it easier for users to choose a pair that will enable them to perform at the highest level. Additionally, leather is a material that does well with adapting to the foot, while the mesh on the collar and tongue greatly contributes to a pleasant wearing experience.

The Cloudfoam is a nifty sneaker and for the low price, a darn good and near tough one to beat. Though it may not come in many styles, there is always someone who will sport it and rock the Adidas name.

10. Air Jordan 32

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
68
Air Jordan 32
Outsole
70
Comfort
65
Fit
65
Flexibility
75
Support
65
best offer for today
$240.00
Pros:

Flyknit Upper

Integrated Laces

FlightSpeed Technology

Good Lateral Support

Adds Lift

Cons:

Needs Breaking In

Tight Fit

The Air Jordan 32 design is inspired by the Air Jordan 2, an iconic first-ever luxury basketball sneaker that was Italian made. The silhouette of the 32 is thus a little retro, a little nostalgic, but make no mistake that this design is outfitted with all the latest technologies and premium materials that only Nike can offer.

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This high-powered sneaker comes with an upper made from a combination of leather and flexible Flyknit. It has an integrated lace-up system, and an exaggerated collar that looks snazzy. However, this collar is not only a fashion moment, but also provides amazing lateral support.

The Air Jordan 32 is outfitted with the Nike FlightSpeed technology, which spreads your weight evenly through the sneaker. It possesses advanced compression and delivers amazing energy return, adding lift to your every jump shot. The high collar of the design ensures additional support for the ankle.

The Air Jordan 32 is that luxury b-ball design that everyone wishes they could have. It’s stylish, available in several different colorways, but it also greatly improves your performance with its high-quality materials and innovative systems. You won’t go wrong with the Air Jordan 32!

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Outsole

How good a pair of this type of sneakers is will greatly depend on the soles. Not only will a pair of high-quality sneakers help to improve your performance with more effective speed, but they can also help prevent injuries. A design without a good pair of soles can lead to slipping and falling or can result in ankle sprains that can have a significant impact on your game and career as a professional basketball player.

Keep your eye out for footwear that has rubber soles which provides traction that’ll prevent those dangerous slips and enhance your best moves. You should also pay attention to designs that have multi-directional traction patterns, as these are specifically created to give you an amazing grip of the surface underfoot, enabling you to make those quick cuts that’ll shake defenders off of you.

  • Outsole: A decent outsole must include two things; a steady, firm grip and smooth traction. These two are very easy to confuse, and they’re commonly referred to as the same feature – which is wrong. In simple words, the grip is what allows you to hold yourself onto the surface, while traction is what determines the quality of the movement in relation to the surface.
    Despite being two separate things, grip and traction must work together to deliver optimal performance. An outsole that lacks either of them isn’t any good for basketball, as they’re both key parts of the sport.
    The best designs must come with a grip that allows users to stop immediately, regardless of the speed they have and the direction they’re coming from. If you’re approaching the hoop fast and you want to go for a shot, it’s critical that the outsole grips the surface in a manner that it prevents your sneakers from moving in any direction once you’ve stopped.
    A cheap outsole will be defeated by your momentum, ultimately resulting in slippage or lateral swinging. In order to get a clean shot, any lateral impulse should be neutralized; you only want to move in a vertical dimension when going for the shot to obtain the most accuracy. Some sneakers will grip efficiently to the floor when taking a shot or going for a cross-over but will fail to grip when performing quick and continuous movements. Variations of rubber, such as vulcanized rubber, have a slightly stickier surface and help control fast and forceful motions.
  • Midsole: Midsoles are the component responsible for most of the shock absorption process. This is why, in most cases, they’re the thickest and heaviest part of footwear. Basketball is a sport that involves a great amount of impact – running and jumping create a lot of shock. If this shock isn’t regulated, your joints, muscles, and bones will be severely affected; not only during the match but in the long run as well.
    If you’ve ever had extremely sore heels the day after a match, chances are you were using footwear that lacked a sufficiently absorbing midsole. From the moment of impact, the shock moves up from the surface. The first obstacle it will encounter is the sole, which is why the sole absorbs most of it. However, shock doesn’t stop there, and it is crucial that the insoles of your sneakers have cushioning as well, so as to neutralize as much of the force as possible, saving your heels.
    For many years, the default material for shock absorption was rubber, but new compounds are being created more and more by incorporating synthetic materials and options. These compounds are denser, meaning that they naturally contain more mass. By having more mass, these materials absorb shock more efficiently. Do note, however, that mass alone doesn’t guarantee shock absorption.
  • Cushioning: Any design that is meant for an impact sport should come with enough cushioning. This sport involves both consistent impact and a lot of aerobic activity, which is why it’s paramount that our feet are adequately protected by the sneaker. Cushioning plays an important role in this, and although it doesn’t deal with impact directly, it makes sure that the residual energy that isn’t absorbed by the soles doesn’t do too much harm to your joints and muscles.
    But, performance cushioning isn’t only limited to protecting feet from residual impact energy. Basketball involves a large variety of very different movements which generate compression of the foot against the materials of the design. Cushioning materials found in your pair of sneakers also prevent your feet from taking damage against the materials of the sneaker.
    The exteriors of sneakers are made to be tough and durable, and this often means that they are too rough on the feet unless covered with a layer of protective cushioning. The cushioning can prevent damage caused on the feet and will increase the level of comfort you feel when playing. If you find yourself wearing a pair of sneakers that lack in the cushioning department, you will find that you experience greater levels of fatigue as your muscles, bones, and joints will be more exposed to impact and vibration.
    At the same time, cushioning isn’t something that should be overdone. Made of soft, comfy materials, it will most likely lack the structure and support you need for a sport like this. You don’t want to miss out on cushioning, but having two pillows in your sneakers will affect the stability and firmness of each motion.
Comfort

Any type of footwear made for performance needs to feel comfortable enough on your feet so as not to distract you from the task at hand. This includes a proper fit, as well as features designed to keep you feeling pleasant no matter the wear time. These features can be found both on the inside and the outside of a design, so make sure to carefully look at your preferred model before purchasing. Here are some aspects that you should consider:

  • Interior: Look for add-ons such as a sock liner or a soft interior fabric to maximize the level of comfort you feel when you put on your sneakers. It is important that you also consider the width and length of the design, as both of these will be a huge deciding factor. An option that is too loose will allow your foot to slip around; one that is too tight will cause friction and irritation and can affect circulation.
  • Midsole Components: If you really want the sole of your foot to feet good, then it is necessary to check out what the midsole is made of and how thick and bouncy it is. If your sneaker lacks bounce then you will have a stiff feeling that hinders your mobility. Too much bounce and you lack that close to the ground feel that gives you maximum control.
  • Overall Weight: The heavier the design the more it will slow you down, and this is true for every added ounce of weight. Depending on your size, opting for a lighter sneaker can make a significant difference, and if you’re smaller in weight and stature then you want to look at low tops that are made with thinner materials. The bigger you are, the more you can go up in weight, but be conscious of how the design feels on your foot because as each minute on the clock ticks by that sneaker will feel heavier.
  • Supportive Materials: Nothing takes away from your level of comfort quite like an on-court injury, so help prevent that by opting for a design that gives you support where you need it most. If you have had prior ankle injuries, look for a sneaker that gives you a tighter fit up top and supports you. Materials such as mesh may reduce weight and add breathability, but an all-mesh choice won’t do much in terms of support.
  • Breathability: Basketball is a tough sport, which means that your feet will get hot and sweaty real fast. In order to minimize the risk of skin irritation and blisters, opt for sneakers which are breathable and allow for good airflow. Mesh or synthetic materials are great options, and they will often have the advantage of moisture wicking properties. Do note, however, that these materials lack structure and support. The best footwear will have breathable panels in areas where heat concentrates most, such as the sides of the sneaker, the top of the foot and the toe box.
Fit

Needless to say, an optimal fit is required in order to play ball comfortably. The ideal fit is one that compresses your feet slightly to provide support, leaving just the slightest gap of space between your foot and the sneaker that allows you to put it on. Another key element in determining the fit are the laces which need to be strong and dependable, making it possible for you to get the most support out your footwear.

In order to obtain the optimal fit, there are a few key areas you should take note of:

  • Toe Box: Make sure there is about a thumb’s width of space between where your toes end and where the sneaker ends. Any less, and your toes will be cramped and uncomfortable; more and there will be too much space and your foot will slide, opening you up to injury or discomfort.
  • General Width: Your sneaker should feel snug against the sides of your foot, but it should never compress your foot to the point where it’s in any way uncomfortable. Like a great hug, your foot should feel comforted, supported, and encased without any area being pinched. If you find synthetic footwear to be too tight on your foot, but good in length, try opting for a leather design instead. Leather will stretch and break in, giving you the correct length and allowing for some extra room to accommodate the width of your foot.
  • Weight: If your footwear feels at all heavy when you try it on, it is going to be way too heavy to play in. The longer you wear these sneakers the heavier they feel, and that’s true for even the lightest of models. Make sure you’re picking a pair that is the right weight for your size and is easy and light to walk around in.
  • Heel Support: The fit on your heel should be the snuggest part of the sneaker, and ideally you want to feel like your heel is locked in place. This will help reduce injury to your feet, ankles, hips, and even back. Of course, you don’t want it overly tight, but the heel should not be moving around or lifting when you walk.
  • Closure: The closures are what allow each user to compress the fit of the design, and these can be laces, velcro straps, or traditional straps. When tying your sneakers, notice how the laces pull the materials together around your feet. An efficient closure system is one that distributes the tension equally throughout the upper. If, like most basketball players, you find yourself wearing mid or high tops, it is crucial that the entire closure system is firm, from the top all the way down to the tongue.
Flexibility

When we’re talking about flexibility, there is an important distinction to make: flexibility of a design is not a single element, but rather a quality that must be present in each element of a sneaker separately.

When shopping for performance footwear, you must make sure that the frame, the upper, and the sole are flexible enough to practice sports in. Flexibility is the very base of most motions you can possibly make with your feet, and if your footwear lacks it, you are opening yourself up to stress and tension, especially in the instep of the foot.

Look for footwear that offers flexibility in the soles, which will allow your feet to move naturally when running and jumping. If you have a chance to try out the sneakers before you purchase them, make sure to perform a flexibility test. Take both ends of a design - the heel and the toe area - and bend them upwards until they touch each other, if they can. This will allow you to gauge whether or not a design has the amount of flexibility that you are looking for.

Of course, flexibility is a feature that, like many others, should be present but not in excess. The flexibility of a material is inversely proportional to its support; meaning that as a material gets more flexible it starts to lose its structure and fails to hold the foot in place. So make sure that your option is flexible, but not flimsy, and that you still feel secure and safe while you play.

Support

When we’re talking about support, we have to types to cover: ankle support, and arch support.

As a basketball player, you probably know this better than any other athlete: ankles are very susceptible to injury when playing an intense game. One wrong move with no protection can put you at risk of a sprain that could severely limit you during the game, or potentially keep you from playing for a while. A great footwear choice will work to protect you from such injuries through features such as a high top, a well-molded collar or even a sock bootie.

At the same time, you don’t want the ankle support to restrain your movements. Support should only act as a feature that prevents your feet and ankles from assuming unnatural positions that may be hazardous, or simply uncomfortable. Too much ankle support will prevent you from rotating freely and will considerably hinder your dribbling ability.

Sneakers come in low, mid and high top options, and the one you choose will affect how much support you will be getting in the ankle area. The higher the design, the better the ankle support, as you will have more material wrapped around the upper part of your ankle, which can generally be tightened or fastened to give you the right fit. The position you play will also make a big difference when it comes to which style you should choose, as each offers its own unique set of characteristics.

For positions that need more support, because they need quicker pivoting for blocking, etc, a higher topped sneaker is going to really allow you to move with more security and stability. When you need to be quick on the court, a low top will be lighter and give you more speed, and will also be a great option if you want more height on your jump.

Normally, performance footwear has a standard level of arch support which generally suits people who have no arch issues. Users that suffer from arch conditions such as flat feet or high arches, experience a considerably larger amount of stress on the arch – especially when performing sports. In these cases, it’s up to the user to solve this.

The best choice, regardless of what your feet anatomy is, is to purchase customized insoles. In general, this is something all people with arch conditions must do, as they are unlikely to find a pair of sneakers that suit their specific condition. Even if the generic arch design fits your anatomy, the best way to go is with an insole that perfectly supports the exact shape of your feet, including the arch.

The foot arch is affected by flexion and aerobic performance; if on top of that you add stress generated by the lack of arch support, you’ll have a hard time. This is even more important in practices as active and forceful as basketball.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

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Start With The Basics

If you're just getting into the sport, mastering basic moves is a must to move onto more advance styles of play. Learning to dribble, shoot, and other ball handling and foot maneuvers require practice to master so they feel second nature during a game.
For extra practice, hit the local park on the weekends for a round of hoops with your friends or family!

Stability and Structure

Basketball utilizes quick stop and go movements, from front to back, and also side to side. When you're selecting a pair of basketball shoes, make sure they have the right level of lateral support as well as traction for the surface you'll be playing on. Indoor shoes tend to hold up great inside on the floor, but not quite so well on a street court with concrete or gravel.

Other Factors to Consider

Bottom Line

There you have it, our top 10 list of the best basketball shoes currently available for purchase. All of these are incredible and show that footwear technology will definitely continue to evolve. From the LeBrons to the Jordans, to the Durants, there really is no wrong choice. However, all of these models feature aspects which might make them the right pair for the type of player you are.

If you are a professional or even an enthusiast player, you probably already know what you want out of your sneakers, so you’ll easily be able to make up your mind based on the styles we think are the best.

If, however, you are a sneakerhead with a soft spot for b-ball, then you’ll need more time to make your decision for the one pair that you’ll opt to make your own. Or who knows, maybe you’ll even decide to purchase a couple of these, considering the fact that all of them look and feel great.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Can these sneakers make me jump higher?
a:

Compared to some other types of footwear, you might find that this type allows you to jump higher. But in the end, the height of your jump comes down to the strength of your calves and legs.

q: Can I casually wear these designs on a regular basis?
a:

Yes, you can wear the options from our list on a day to day basis. They’re generally designed to be comfortable for your feet, which is a benefit if you’re walking for long periods. In addition, sneakers like these also make a great stylish option when you’re going out.

q: How often should I replace my footwear for playing ball?
a:

A strong indication you should replace your basketball footwear is if you find that your feet are starting to hurt after practice. You also may notice the bottom of your sneakers starting to look old or really worn down. That’s another indication you should replace your shoes as well. Wearing designs that no longer offer the right support and grip can lead to injury.

q: Do these designs make good running shoes?
a:

No. Basketball footwear is specifically designed to give ankle support and maximum shock absorption to help with swift side to side movements along with quick stop and go movements. They also tend to be big and thick, so you won’t get the most effective stride in your steps as you would with the sleekness of running footwear.

q: How to keep these shoes clean?
a:

It’s suggested that the best way to keep your b-ball footwear clean is to only wear it for playing basketball. However, if you do wear them daily, watch out for mud, and be cautious of how much they get scuffed. When you clean them, it’s important to clean the soles so they continue to provide traction. For a design that has leather, you need a special leather cleanser, but water and soap work fine for all other options.

q: What kind of sneaker do I need for outdoor courts?
a:

The most important factor if you’re going to be using your sneakers for outdoor courts, is to get one with the best traction. Playing on outdoor courts puts more stress on the soles. It would be particularly good to look for footwear with thick rubber soles and elaborate traction patterns so they’ll last longer for you.